Raw Story: Rove won’t be indicted for at least a week, but the charges against him have already been written up.
The cost of the war in Iraq will reach $320 billion after the expected passage next month of an emergency spending bill currently before the Senate, and that total is likely to more than double before the war ends, the Congressional Research Service estimated this week . . .
When factoring in costs of the war in Afghanistan, the $811 billion total for both wars would have far exceeded the inflation-adjusted $549 billion cost of the Vietnam War.
The WP fronts the latest annual State Department Country Reports on Terrorism that reveals the number of terrorist attacks increased four times in 2005 to a total of 11,111, which resulted in the death of 14,600 noncombatants. The NYT focuses on what it says about Iraq, where major terrorist attacks, and their casualties, doubled from last year and killed 8,300 people. The report also states that foreign fighters in Iraq account for only four to 10 percent of the total insurgents in the country. An assessment inside the document paints a not-so-positive picture of how the war on terror is going, saying the United States is still in the "first phase of a potentially long war." According to the report, smaller terrorist cells that act autonomously are becoming more active. It goes on to say that even though al-Qaida is not the same organization it used to be, "the enemy's proven ability to adapt means we will probably go through several more cycles of action/reaction before the war's outcome is no longer in doubt.But surely in Iraq, Americans are turning the fighting over to that quarter of a million trained Iraqi soldiers, right?
The WSJ goes high with, while the NYT and LAT point out, that with the death of a U.S. soldier on Friday, 69 U.S. troops have died in Iraq so far in April, which makes it the highest death toll in five months.
The WP fronts a good dispatch from Hawijah, Iraq, illustrating the distrust that exists between U.S. and Iraqi forces. Even though the two are supposed to be working as a team, there is evidence to suggest some Iraqi soldiers cooperate with insurgents, leaving U.S. troops unsure of whom exactly they can trust.
It's quite a scam. Run on government being incompetent and stealing your hard earned money. Take power. Make government incompetent while lining your pockets with as much taxpayer money as possible. Lose office. Make Democrats clean up your mess. Rinse repeat.
The cost of the war in Iraq will reach $320 billion after the expected passage next month of an emergency spending bill currently before the Senate, and that total is likely to more than double before the war ends, the Congressional Research Service estimated this week.Costs for the war are accelerating upwards instead of going down. And despite the claim that we've trained 250,000 Iraqis troops, the Pentagon says we can't turn over anything to them yet. We will spend a trillion dollars on this fiasco before all is said and done and have well trained, well armed Iraqi militias fighting multiple civil wars in a completely destabilized region that happens to be the location of most of the world's oil reserves.
The analysis, distributed to some members of Congress on Tuesday night, provides the most official cost estimate yet of a war whose price tag will rise by nearly 17 percent this year. Just last week, independent defense analysts looking only at Defense Department costs put the total at least $7 billion below the CRS figure.
Once the war spending bill is passed, military and diplomatic costs will have reached $101.8 billion this fiscal year, up from $87.3 billion in 2005, $77.3 billion in 2004 and $51 billion in 2003, the year of the invasion, congressional analysts said. Even if a gradual troop withdrawal begins this year, war costs in Iraq and Afghanistan are likely to rise by an additional $371 billion during the phaseout, the report said, citing a Congressional Budget Office study. When factoring in costs of the war in Afghanistan, the $811 billion total for both wars would have far exceeded the inflation-adjusted $549 billion cost of the Vietnam War.
"The costs are exceeding even the worst-case scenarios," said Rep. John M. Spratt Jr. (S.C.), the ranking Democrat on the House Budget Committee.
QATIF, Saudi Arabia — The conflict in Iraq has begun to spill over onto this hardscrabble, sunburned swath of coast, breathing new life into the ancient rivalry between the country's powerful Sunni Muslim majority and the long-oppressed Shiite minority in one of the most oil-rich areas of the world.Note to Bush. This particular area or Arabia is responsible for 11% of the world's oil production.
"Saudi Sunnis are defending Iraqi Sunnis, and Saudi Shiites are defending Iraqi Shiites," said Hassan Saffar, Saudi Arabia's most influential Shiite cleric. "There's a fear that it will cause a struggle here."
WASHINGTON - The country's three largest oil and gas companies are expected to report combined first-quarter profits this week in excess of $16 billion, a 19 percent surge from last year that is sure to complicate life for the industry in Washington, where elected officials are scrambling for ways to assuage angry consumers and businesses.But we're supposed to believe there's no gouging going on, that the oil companies are just lucky that they own a commodity that increases in value during the six months or so it takes to go from being pumped out of the ground to being pumped into a gas tank.
The combined earnings expected from ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp. will be 14 times greater than the combined first-quarter profits of Google Inc., Apple Computer Inc. and Oracle Corp.
But with world oil prices trading at about $72 a barrel, analysts say full-year profits for the oil majors are likely to surpass the record-setting earnings of 2005, when Exxon reported a $36.13 billion profit - the highest ever for a U.S. company.
Mr. Damasceno created a cheaper device by programming a standard car computer to constantly calculate the mixture of ethanol versus gasoline in the tank and adjust the engine accordingly. In 2002, the team sold the device to Volkswagen, which introduced its flex-fuel Gol the next year. Mr. Damasceno's black box is now sold by five major car makers in Brazil. Even Ford's Brazil unit uses the Damasceno device.
In Ford's newest ad in Brazil, an indecisive young boy can't decide between a pair of brown and red shoes. As a teenager, he can't pick between a blonde and a brunette at a party. The ad ends with the young man pulling up to a gas station in his Ford Ecosport. The attendant asks: "Alcohol or gasoline?" The man, happy he doesn't have to choose, raises two fingers, signifying both.
"President Bush rode a 14-vehicle motorcade there and back to the Marriott Wardman to talk to the Renewable Fuels Association about energy conservation and other topics. En route, the motorcade passed the Exxon station next to the Watergate, where gas prices were $3.29, $3.39 and $3.49 a gallon. Just saying."Julie Mason of the Houston Chronicle notes in her pool report:
The rules would require airlines and cruise ship operators to collect personal information from all passengers and report sick ones to the government. Critics say the plan is difficult, costly and in violation of passengers' rights.So instead of investing in research for vaccines, or stocking anti-flu medications, or beefing up the health care system in general, we'll erode civil liberties in a futile attempt to "jail the virus", a strategy that is doomed to failure.
"What they're proposing is nonsensical," says Tara O'Toole, director of the Center for Biosecurity at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. "The notion of trying to screen airline passengers is wrong. ... People are going to be contagious without being symptomatic."
Dow Jones reports that the move would free up about 70,000 barrels a day otherwise destined for the reserve in the coming weeks.But being all stupid and such, I'm sure Bush thinks that oil traders and gasoline brokers are like him and will fall for this tepid response.
By my calculations, that's about one third of one percent of the total U.S. consumption of about 20 million barrels a day -- anyone want to call that a drop in the bucket?
The totality of the advice simply misses the mark and obscures the underlying problem driving progressives’ on-going woes nationally: a majority of Americans do not believe progressives or Democrats stand for anything....This trend, one we call the “identity gap,” has been written about and discussed by others in years past. What is not understood is the extent to which this gap continues to drag down progressives and Democrats and depress their support in myriad ways. “No identity” translates into no character. No personal integrity. No vision worth fighting for.To which Kevin responds:
So we need a strong identity. Check. And how are we going to figure out what it [my emphasis] should be?In fairness to Drum, the Halpin/Teixeira piece does seem to focusing on what "it" is. And if that's the direction to which they are headed, I don't totally disagree with Drum.
Furthermore, 31% of Americans rate the national economy as excellent, very good, or good, and 67% rate the national economy as bad, very bad, or terrible. 83% say their ratings of the economy are based on higher gasoline prices.I thought we were in a boom?
Meanwhile, I spotted this interesting tidbit at the end of Sunday's Washington Post piece on the arrest:What? How long until a bill is introduced that it's illegal to be a Democrat and work in government?
The White House also has recently barraged the agency with questions about the political affiliations of some of its senior intelligence officers, according to intelligence officials.
Congress is about to sell out the Internet by letting big phone and cable companies set up toll booths along the information superhighway.
Companies like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast are spending tens of millions in Washington to kill "network neutrality" -- a principle that keeps the Internet open to all.
A bill moving quickly through Congress would let these companies become Internet gatekeepers, deciding which Web sites go fast or slow -- and which won't load at all -- based on who pays them more. The rest of us will be detoured to the "slow lane," clicking furiously and waiting for our favorite sites to download.
Our elected representatives are trading favors for campaign donations from phone and cable companies. They're being wooed by people like AT&T's CEO, who says "the Internet can't be free" and wants to decide what you do, where you go and what you watch online.
The best ideas never come from those with the deepest pockets. If the phone and cable companies get their way, the free and open Internet could soon be fenced in by large corporations. If Congress turns the Internet over to giants like AT&T, everyone who uses the Internet will suffer:
We can't let Congress ruin the free and open Internet.
Job growth over the last five years is the weakest on record. The US economy came up more than 7 million jobs short of keeping up with population growth. That’s one good reason for controlling immigration. An economy that cannot keep up with population growth should not be boosting population with heavy rates of legal and illegal immigration.Lest you think I'm quoting some left-wing socialist, here's the author, Paul Craig Roberts, creds:
Over the past five years the US economy experienced a net job loss in goods-producing activities. The entire job growth was in service-providing activities--primarily credit intermediation, health care and social assistance, waiters, waitresses and bartenders, and state and local government.
Job growth over the last five years is the weakest on record. The US economy came up more than 7 million jobs short of keeping up with population growth.
US manufacturing lost 2.9 million jobs, almost 17% of the manufacturing work force. The wipeout is across the board. Not a single manufacturing payroll classification created a single new job.
The declines in some manufacturing sectors have more in common with a country undergoing saturation bombing during war than with a super-economy that is “the envy of the world.” Communications equipment lost 43% of its workforce. Semiconductors and electronic components lost 37% of its workforce. The workforce in computers and electronic products declined 30%. Electrical equipment and appliances lost 25% of its employees. The workforce in motor vehicles and parts declined 12%. Furniture and related products lost 17% of its jobs. Apparel manufacturers lost almost half of the work force. Employment in textile mills declined 43%. Paper and paper products lost one-fifth of its jobs. The work force in plastics and rubber products declined by 15%. Even manufacturers of beverages and tobacco products experienced a 7% shrinkage in jobs.
The knowledge jobs that were supposed to take the place of lost manufacturing jobs in the globalized “new economy” never appeared. The information sector lost 17% of its jobs, with the telecommunications work force declining by 25%. Even wholesale and retail trade lost jobs. Despite massive new accounting burdens imposed by Sarbanes-Oxley, accounting and bookkeeping employment shrank by 4%. Computer systems design and related lost 9% of its jobs. Today there are 209,000 fewer managerial and supervisory jobs than 5 years ago.
In five years the US economy only created 70,000 jobs in architecture and engineering, many of which are clerical. Little wonder engineering enrollments are shrinking. There are no jobs for graduates. The talk about engineering shortages is absolute ignorance. There are several hundred thousand American engineers who are unemployed and have been for years. No student wants a degree that is nothing but a ticket to a soup line. Many engineers have written to me that they cannot even get Wal-Mart jobs because their education makes them over-qualified.
Offshore outsourcing and offshore production have left the US awash with unemployment among the highly educated. The low measured rate of unemployment does not include discouraged workers. Labor arbitrage has made the unemployment rate less and less a meaningful indicator. In the past unemployment resulted mainly from turnover in the labor force and recession. Recoveries pulled people back into jobs.
Unemployment benefits were intended to help people over the down time in the cycle when workers were laid off. Today the unemployment is permanent, as entire occupations and industries are wiped out by labor arbitrage as corporations replace their American employees with foreign ones.
Economists who look beyond political press releases estimate the US unemployment rate to be between 7% and 8.5%. There are now hundreds of thousands of Americans who will never recover their investment in their university education.
Unless the BLS is falsifying the data or businesses are reporting the opposite of the facts, the US is experiencing a job depression. Most economists refuse to acknowledge the facts, because they endorsed globalization. It was a win-win situation, they said.
They were wrong.
Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and Contributing Editor of National Review. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.I can't decide if the economy is in the midst of a shift to something different, but better, or sort of the other side of the coin in globalization with institutionalized weakness. I do know that job strength based on WalMart type hiring is not good for overall prosperity. Yet, that really seems to be where things are strong. It's like we're returning to a feudal economy with rich and poor .... and no middle class.
The state's (California) 6-year-old program that mandates treatment instead of prison sentences for drug offenders is dramatically decreasing California's jail population and saving taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars, according to a study released Wednesday.You'd play hell getting that kind of investment return anywhere these days.
The study, prepared by the left-leaning Justice Policy Institute in Washington, echoes another report released by UCLA earlier this month that also touted huge taxpayer savings through doing away with prison sentences in favor of treatment. That report said the program, which was passed by voters in 2000 as Proposition 36, saved California $173 million in its first year and $2.50 for every dollar invested since then.
In articles in The Tax Lawyer, a publication of the American Bar Association, and in the upcoming issue of the Harvard Latino Law Review, Francine Lipman, a professor at Chapman University's law school in Orange, Calif., writes that the widespread belief that undocumented immigrants cost us more than they give us is "demonstrably false."Ok, so why is it that we should be all frothy about illegals? Perhaps it's due to that long line of spoiled white boys lining up to get jobs as dry-wallers......
In her review article, Lipman wrote that there are 7 million undocumented workers, which is 1 out of every 20 in the United States. Such undocumented workers live in households in which the average annual income is $27,400, compared with nearly $48,000 for legal immigrant families.
They cannot access or easily access many public services, yet in 2003 alone the labor of undocumented workers poured $7 billion in taxes into Social Security, even though they cannot legally claim those benefits. Lipman calls this "an abyss in federal relief for hard-working, poor families. Undocumented working-poor families have higher effective income tax rates than their neighbors who enjoy higher income levels."
They perform jobs that are inseparable from our standard of living. Undocumented workers are about 5 percent of our overall labor force, but according to the Pew Hispanic Center's analysis of Census data, they are between 22 percent and 36 percent of America's insulation workers, miscellaneous agricultural workers, meat-processing workers, construction workers, dishwashers and maids. The American Farm Bureau, the lobbying group for agricultural interests, says that without guest workers, the United States would lose $5 billion to $9 billion per year in fruit, vegetable and flower production and as much as 20 percent of production would go overseas.
Often ignored by anti-immigration forces is the fact that undocumented workers pay sales taxes and real estate taxes--directly if they are homeowners, indirectly if they are renters. Analysts at Standard & Poor's wrote recently that there is no clear correlation between undocumented families and local costs, as the states with the highest numbers of such families also have relatively low unemployment rates, high property values and strong income growth, "all of which contribute to stable financial performance."
"After Nixon's resignation, it was often said that the system had worked. Confronted by an aberrant president, the checks and balances on the executive by the legislative and judicial branches of government, and by a free press, had functioned as the founders had envisioned," he writes. "The system has thus far failed during the presidency of George W. Bush - at incalculable cost in human lives, to the American political system, to undertaking an intelligent and effective war against terror, and to the standing of the United States in parts of the world where it previously had been held in the highest regard. There was understandable reluctance in the Congress to begin a serious investigation of the Nixon presidency. Then there came a time when it was unavoidable. That time in the Bush presidency has arrived."That was then.
I pledge to remain sexually pure...until the day I give myself as a wedding gift to my husband. ... I know that God requires this of me.. that he loves me. and that he will reward me for my faithfulness.And Daddy's response?
I, (daughter’s name)’s father, choose before God to cover my daughter as her authority and protection in the area of purity. I will be pure in my own life as a man, husband and father. I will be a man of integrity and accountability as I lead, guide and pray over my daughter and as the high priest in my home. This covering will be used by God to influence generations to come.This is part of a ritual done by the fundies at a prom-like dance called "The Purity Ball".
In other words, there is real risk that key players in the crisis — Iranian as well as American — are fundamentally misreading the situation. They may not understand that their counterparts on the other side are perfectly willing to escalate, because they actually want war, or at least are pulled in that direction by their own political and/or strategic dilemmas.For a really good reading of what drives the Iranian side of the miscalculation (I think we're pretty familiar with the American side), go read his latest post linked above.
However, there is an even more terrible risk here, which is that both sides in this crisis may want a war, although for different reasons. And when both parties to a confrontation like this one want a war, they usually get one.
The nuclear option ... Yesterday's LAT noticed that a principal at an elementary school in Inglewood was so worried her students might attend pro-immigration rallies that she barred some from even going to the bathroom, forcing them to use buckets in class.
Now the odd part: The school district defended the principal. They explained that the super-lockdown, bucket routine is indeed allowed, albeit only in a slightly more extreme scenario, namely nuclear Armageddon. "When there's a nuclear attack, that's when buckets are used," said a district official. "She made a decision to follow the handbook. She just misread it."
The expression of their agony, their frustration, lingers in my mind more a wail than a cry: “We are a civilization of 7,000 years,” said a delegate to the U.S.-Iraqi Women’s Conference sponsored by the Global Peace Initiative of Women, March 29-31 in New York. “You are a country of 200 years.” She drifted off into the unsaid. But the message was plain: You are a young country. What have you ever lost? Who are you to tell us how to live?
INDIANAPOLIS — In the biggest highway privatization deal in U.S. history, state officials last week signed an agreement to turn the 157-mile Indiana Toll Road over to a foreign consortium that will operate it for a profit for the next 75 years.Under the lease, Spanish-Australian consortium Cintra-Macquarie will pay the state $3.8 billion up front and will be responsible for operating and maintaining the highway. It will get to keep the toll revenue it collects.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which maintained it had no plans for expansion, is now changing course. Mongolia, Iran, India and Pakistan, which previously had observer status, will become full members. SCO's decision to welcome Iran into its fold constitutes a political statement. Conceivably, SCO would now proceed to adopt a common position on the Iran nuclear issue at its summit meeting June 15.
Visiting Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mohammadi told Itar-TASS in Moscow that the membership expansion "could make the world more fair". And he spoke of building an Iran-Russia "gas-and-oil arc" by coordinating their activities as energy producing countries. Mohammadi also touched on Iran's intention to raise the issue of his country's nuclear program and its expectations of securing SCO support.
"Woman's sexual organ is like the open mouth of a snake filled with poison.”And remember, he's also the owner of the Washington Times, the owner of a number of Congressman and many other enterprises.
—Rev. Sun Myung Moon, whose pastors, under George W. Bush's Healthy Marriage Initiative and abstinence-only grants, have won nearly $1 million in public funding.
According to PoliticalMoneyLine.com, ex-VP Al Gore spent $40K on polling this quarter, sending that amount to Penn, Schoen Berland on 3/22. (The firm currently polls for Sen. Hillary Clinton.)
The disbursement was recorded after the Gore/Lieberman GELAC transferred $40K to Gore's '00 presidential committee. So is Gore polling? For '08? For his new global warming movie?What possible obligation could Gore have from 00'?
A Gore adviser says the disbursement is related to an '00 campaign committment.
Two sex offenders were gunned down in their Maine homes this weekend. The state has suspended the website that publishes offenders' pictures and addresses "as a precaution."Remember, these are offenders who served their sentence and were released.
What greens are proposing is a new paradigm, pairing aggressive energy efficiency and conservation (easily the cheapest "source" of energy) with distributed small-scale sources appropriate to regional context, and smart grids.Very easily and quickly do-able ... that is once you overcome the energy lobby and governmental resistance ....
So how would bombing Iran serve American interests? In over a decade of looking at the question, no one has ever been able to provide a persuasive answer. The president assures us he will seek a diplomatic solution to the Iranian crisis. And there is a role for threats of force to back up diplomacy and help concentrate the minds of our allies. But the current level of activity in the Pentagon suggests more than just standard contingency planning or tactical saber-rattling.I suspect the answer to the playing chicken question is that the administration is doing both. Clearly, Special Ops are already in Iran working directly and through surrogates to try and overturn the Iranian government, and gathering intelligence in preparation for an attack. Clearly the Pentagon is putting together operational plans. Clearly troops are being moved in Iraq and internationally to support those operational plans. And we certainly know that the original PNAC plan was to hit Iran and Syria after Iraq.
The parallels to the run-up to to war with Iraq are all too striking: remember that in May 2002 President Bush declared that there was "no war plan on my desk" despite having actually spent months working on detailed plans for the Iraq invasion. Congress did not ask the hard questions then. It must not permit the administration to launch another war whose outcome cannot be known, or worse, known all too well.
Richard Clarke and Steven Simon were, respectively, national coordinator for security and counterterrorism and senior director for counterterrorism at the National Security Council
Fascism in America won’t come with jackboots, book burnings, mass rallies, and fevered harangues, nor will it come with black helicopters or tanks on the street. It won’t come like a storm—but as a break in the weather, that sudden change of season you might feel when the wind shifts on an October evening: Everything is the same, but everything has changed. Something has gone, departed from the world, and a new reality will have taken its place. All the old forms will still be there: legislatures, elections, campaigns—plenty of bread and circuses. But “consent of the governed” will no longer apply; actual control of the state will have passed to a small and privileged group who rule for the benefit of their wealthy peers and corporate patrons.
To be sure, there will be factional conflicts among the elite, and a degree of debate will be permitted; but no one outside the privileged circle will be allowed to influence state policy. Dissidents will be marginalized—usually by “the people” themselves. Deprived of historical knowledge by a thoroughly impoverished educational system designed to produce complacent consumers, left ignorant of current events by a corporate media devoted solely to profit, many will internalize the force-fed values of the ruling elite, and act accordingly. There will be little need for overt methods of control.
The rulers will act in secret, for reasons of “national security,” and the people will not be permitted to know what goes on in their name. Actions once unthinkable will be accepted as routine: government by executive fiat, state murder of “enemies” selected by the leader, undeclared wars, torture, mass detentions without charge, the looting of the national treasury, the creation of huge new “security structures” targeted at the populace. In time, this will be seen as “normal,” as the chill of autumn feels normal when summer is gone. It will all seem normal.
--Chris Floyd, November 10, 2001 Moscow Times (English edition)
WASHINGTON Apr 15, 2006 (AP)— Protection of marriage amendment? Check. Anti-flag burning legislation? Check. New abortion limits? Check.So despite losing in Iraq, nuclear threats in North Korea and Iran, rising deficits, trade balance problems, rising interest rates, rising energy prices, and corrpution at all levels of government, the GOP plans to focus on those burning (pun intended) issues such as flag burning.
Between now and the November elections, Republicans are penciling in plans to take action on social issues important to religious conservatives, the foundation of the GOP base, as they defend their congressional majority.
The NYT gives above-the-fold treatment to another installment in its series on executive pay, this time focusing on Lee Raymond, the former CEO of Exxon. Exxon paid Raymond $686 million—nearly $150,000 a day—during his tenure as chief, from 1993 to 2005.Let's not forget those difficult retirement years if Mr. Raymond happened to not save for his future:
Still, Mr. Raymond's package for 2005 stands out, even stripping the $98 million lump-sum value of his pension plan.The hell of it is that the guy's a prick to boot.
I'm a very lucky person with every allergy known to man but still happy to be enjoying a wonderful life living in the best place in the world!